February 26, 2015

Patches Tote Bag

When I was in elementary school, I loved Girl Scout badges and patches. Full disclosure: an obsession over badges is probably more accurate. I loved them as an indicator of my achievements, and the value of a full Girl Scout vest was sublime. I even had a brief and sporadic business sewing Girl Scout badges on peer's vests and actually enjoyed it. Before I even knew how to use my sewing machine, I purchased special clear thread and extra sturdy needles to be able to sew patches (once I learned how...)

My Girl Scout vest eventually filled up by the time I got over that obsession.
Since then, I've grown out of my patches obsession. Well, sort of. Since fifth grade, I've begun a collection of patches of places that my various travels have taken me. Over time, I've accrued enough to sew them all onto a canvas tote bag. Call me old-fashioned, but this bag has become a labor of love.

The first side was completed during my ninth grade year. There are patches from my brief time taking ice skating lessons, my eighth grade trip to Washington, DC; family trips to Canada, national parks, and southern California.

Over winter break this year, I finally got around to sewing the second side. Here there are patches from my trips to Italy, France, Spain, and the Netherlands; a road trip through Northern California, and trips to the East Coast to tour colleges and hang out in New York City, various national parks and monuments, and more. 

The bag now weighs significantly more than it used to without all fifty-one patches. I'm valuing this bag at about $275 in material worth, but virtually priceless in the memories and dork-factor the bag deserves. I still have about a dozen patches that didn't fit, so now I have to come up with another idea to display them. Any suggestions?

Happy Crafting!!

February 19, 2015

Blustery Thermal Headband

My first November in not-California was a little rough. One day it was 60F, the next, 32F, and the next, 16F. I wasn't ready for such a sudden shock and didn't know what would happen if it just kept getting colder.  Combined with escalating levels of academic stress and ears going numb upon stepping outside, one night I elected to make myself a thermal headband instead of doing my humanities reading.

The yarn is some random leftover scrap yarn from an afghan project my grandmother worked on during the 1980's. Talk about obscure... I have no idea where this yarn came from, but it is probably acrylic and definitely worsted.

The headband was done in less than 48 hours, and none too soon. My ears were immediately thankful for the warmth in the freezing weather. While it is scarily warm here in February, many poor souls on the East Coast and in the Midwest are in the midst of blustery and bitter cold. Pro-tip: make yourself a thermal headband!

Blustery Thermal Headband Pattern
Adapted from Big Book of Knitting Stitch Patterns "Woven cable"

Difficulty: Intermediate
Suggested Yarn: Berroco Vintage DK, about 65 yd (60 m)
Gauge: 20 sts & 28 rows = 4 inches (10 cm) in stockinette stitch
Finished Size: 3 in (7.6 cm) wide & 17.5 in (44.4 cm) long - personalize to be 1 inch (2 cm) shorter than head circumference!
Needles: US 7 (4.5 mm)
Other Materials: cable needle

Cast on 24 sts using provisional cast on.

Follow stitch pattern:
Rows 1 & 5: P 3, K 18, P3
Row 2 and all even rows: Work sts as they appear (K 3, P 18, K3).
Row 3: P 3, C3B three times, P 3
Row 7: P 3, K 3, C3F twice, K 3, P 3

Repeat st pattern 12.5 times or until desired length.

Cast off using Kitchener stitch/grafting to connect the two ends of work into a headband. Weave in yarn ends.

sl – slip st as if to k
cn – cable needle
k 2 togknit two sts together
c3b – cable 3 back – sl 3 sts to cn and hold in back of work, k 3, k 3 from cn
c3f – cable 3 front – sl 3 sts to cn and hold in front of work, k 3, k 3 from cn

You can find this pattern on Ravelry here.

You can find a free PDF of this pattern here.

Stay warm, friends. Only four more weeks of winter!

Happy Crafting!!

February 5, 2015

'Greenfield' Cardigan

The versatility of a single pattern can be amazing. Without going too far into knitting geek mode, just take a look at the two images below. Both sweaters are crafted from the same pattern.

http://www.ravelry.com/patterns/library/113-17-jacket-with-raglan-sleeve-and-pattern-on-yoke-in-silke-alpaca FREE

The sweater to the left is the sample made by the designer DROPS. When I browsed through various DROPS sweater patterns, this pattern slipped passed my attention, probably because of the drab color and unappealing choice of three-quarter sleeves. 

In contrast, I came across the image to the right during a Pinterest search and the sweater instantly struck me. When I tracked it to the same sweater that I had passed up a few days earlier, I was genuinely surprised. I see this as confirmation that the yarn selection process for each project is immensely important, for the yarn can make all the difference in a sweater.

Enough of this knitting nerd stuff, now. The day after I finished my choral maxi skirt, I ventured back to the store with all intentions of making a sheer skirt to layer on top of the black skirt for more casual occasions. The limited chiffon and novelty fabric selection, however, was disappointing and suppressed my creativity, so that project was out. 

I was in need of a project, though, so I ventured over to the yarn department out of habit. I found this Lion Brand Wool-Ease Solid offered in forest green heather. This wool/acrylic blend was in a beautiful green palette and just had to use it for my next project. Jo-Ann yarns are generally 100% acrylic, so finding a higher-grade Lion Brand product was a bit of a surprise.

I had bookmarked this pattern on Ravelry months before, so I knew immediately what project the yarn was for. (I make sure that every yarn purchase is for a specific project; I am determined not to hoard yarn to create a dorm room yarn stash.) I began the sweater the day I bought the yarn and made steady progress while taking pains to get all my schoolwork done first. With this limiting pace, the knitting took about a month.

Then I let the sweater alone for another month or so before blocking and buying buttons. I had expected to find buttons in Grandma's substantial button collection, but alas, seven matching brown buttons were not to be found. So off the store I went again.

All in all, the sweater fits pretty well for me. This is my first true cardigan, so making buttonholes was new for me. The color is actually much greener--like a green field--so I am naming this the 'Greenfield' cardigan. With this kind of name, the sweater clearly it belongs to me. :) It was a lot of fun and very easy to make, though, so I'm not opposed to making another one sometime soon! 

You can find this project entry on my Ravelry page here.

Happy Crafting!!